2.45pm – The U.S. vice-president now looks set to arrive in Ireland four days ahead of originally scheduled and is now likely to land at Shannon Airport on Monday.
Sources have now said that Mr Pence and his entourage are more likely to arrive at Shannon Airport some time on Monday and stay in Doonbeg on Monday night before travelling to Dublin, probably be helicopter, on Tuesday.
Confirmation of the change is expected later.
Preparations are continuing for the arrival in Ireland next week of U.S. vice-president Mike Pence who is expected to visit Dublin and Co Clare.
While Mr Pence’s itinerary details have not yet been made public, it’s expected that he and the U.S. second lady Karen Pence will stay at president Donald Trump’s family hotel and golf resort in Doonbeg.
There’s speculation locally today that Mr Pence will actually arrive in Ireland several days early however this has not been confirmed. The Limerick Leader is reporting that Mr Pence might arrive as early as today however, it’s believed the vice-president could land here on Monday.
Invited by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the vice-president’s visit comes just three months after Donald Trump’s trip to Clare resulted in a ring of steel being thrown around Shannon Airport and tens of square miles of West Clare.
Like when president Trump visited in June, it’s expected Mike Pence will travel to and from Shannon Airport by helicopter while a cavalcade of vehicles will also be available to transport Mr Pence by road if for any reason the helicopters can’t operate.
Two US Army Sikorsky HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters arrived in Shannon this week on board a C-17 Globemaster III transport plane. Further flights carrying other equipment and personnel area expected to arrive in Shannon in the coming days.
In Shannon, CCTV cameras have been erected on the main route into the airport so that Gardaí can monitor traffic movements before and during the visit.
Mr Pence’s visit to Ireland was confirmed by himself on Twitter earlier this month when he posted: “Finally, on September 6-7 we will travel to Ireland, a country that is very near to my family’s heart, where we look forward to meeting with President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney while celebrating my Irish roots.”
Mr Pence was expected to begin his Irish visit on Friday in Dublin where he will meet President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin and the Taoiseach at Farmleigh House. The vice-president was then expected to fly to Shannon from where he would likely to be whisked by helicopter to president Trump’s family property in Doonbeg.
While there has been no confirmation from official sources, it’s now believed the visit could happen on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rather than next weekend as originally planned.
There’s also speculation that Mr Pence, who will visit Iceland and the UK before arriving in Ireland, will also visit the Cliffs of Moher along with Tánaiste Simon Coveney during his time in Clare.
Mr Pence’s maternal grandparents emigrated to the US from counties Clare and Sligo. His grandfather was Richard Michael Cawley who left Tubbercurry in Sligo for the U.S. in the 1920s and later settled in Chicago. According to records, Cawley married Mary Elizabeth Maloney, a teacher and first-generation American whose family hailed from Doonbeg, Co Clare.